After lengthy private meeting, UA trustees take no action on Jeff Long

By: Brandon Riddle
Published: November 9, 2017 at 11:55 a.m. - Updated: November 9, 2017 at 3:31 p.m.
University of Arkansas athletics director, back, and chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, near, wait during a meeting of the UA Board of Trustees on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in North Little Rock.
University of Arkansas athletics director, back, and chancellor Joseph Steinmetz, near, wait during a meeting of the UA Board of Trustees on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in North Little Rock.

The University of Arkansas board of trustees took no action on Jeff Long, the athletic director for the flagship campus in Fayetteville, after emerging from an executive session Thursday that lasted more than three hours.

Long, who waited just outside of the meeting for some time, was not mentioned when the trustees returned to the regular meeting after noon.

The board took several votes that were not related to Long after the regular meeting resumed. UA System President Donald Bobbitt said the trustees would have had to make public any action taken against Long.

The executive session, which had been tentatively scheduled to last 45 minutes during the trustee meeting at UA - Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, began around 8:50 a.m.

For the first hour-and-a-half, Long and UA-Fayetteville Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz sat in a nearby auditorium. Around 10:20 a.m., the two left and walked toward the room where the trustees were meeting.

Long waited outside the meeting room, but he never entered the executive session, a UA spokesman confirmed. Steinmetz was inside the room for a time.

After the meeting ended, three trustees, including former U.S. Sen. David Pryor, declined to comment on what was discussed during the executive session.

Check back with Arkansas Online for updates on this developing story and read Friday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

12:12 P.M. UPDATE:

University of Arkansas board of trustees has ended its private meeting shortly before 12:15 p.m., more than three hours after it began.

The executive session, which had been tentatively scheduled to last 45 minutes during the trustee meeting at UA - Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, began around 8:50 a.m.

EARLIER:

The University of Arkansas board of trustees was entering its fourth hour in executive session late Thursday morning while Jeff Long, the athletic director for the flagship campus in Fayetteville, was seated just outside the room.

The executive session, which had been tentatively scheduled to last 45 minutes during the trustee meeting at UA - Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock, began around 8:50 a.m.

For the first hour-and-a-half, Long and UA-Fayetteville Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz sat in a nearby auditorium. Around 10:20 a.m., the two left and walked toward the room where the trustees were meeting.

It was not immediately clear whether either official was in the meeting or what the trustees were discussing in the private hearing.

Around 10:40 a.m., two Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporters standing in a hallway near the meeting room were ushered just inside the auditorium, leaving them unable to see the comings and goings of those in the session. Others continued milling around the hallway them.

At that time, Long was seated in a lobby area outside the room, with a backpack and various paperwork near him.

Pressed on the removal of reporters, Shannon Boshears, vice chancellor for advancement at UA-Pulaski Tech, said board members needed space and a “soundproof” environment to discuss private topics.

Media outlets were told they would be ushered back into the auditorium if they made repeated attempts to re-enter the hallway.

After reporters objected to being kept out of the area, they were allowed back into the hallway a short time later. Long was still sitting on a bench.

Long was hired to lead the athletics program 10 years ago. He replaced the late Frank Broyles, who was at the helm from 1973-2007.

The Razorbacks (4-5, 1-4 SEC) are set to play against LSU (6-3, 3-2 SEC) on Saturday morning in the annual Battle for the Golden Boot.

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